There was a time when I liked complicated cooking. The early days of this blog featured a lot of intricate stuffed vegetables, multi-step baking recipes and so on. I guess I’ve had it with endless peeling, chopping and sautéing, because these days I’d rather have carrot sticks or grilled vegetables rather than a carrot salad or stuffed zucchini. Despite my new minimalism, I do have a soft spot for a few favorite multi-step recipes, including this Moroccan carrot salad. Here’s my take on this dish, with a few updates based on a similar recipe from Sendik's markets’ surprisingly good food magazine.
First, make the dressing. Heat a small skillet, and sprinkle in ¼ tsp. each of the following spices: cinnamon, ginger, allspice, black pepper, red pepper flakes, turmeric and ground cardamom. Heat the spices for 30 seconds, then place in a small bowl and combine with 2 tbs. olive oil, 2 tbs. fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp. sugar and a healthy dash of salt.
Peel 1 pound of carrots; slice into ¼-inch thick rounds. Place the carrots in a saucepan, cover with water and add 2 grated or pressed garlic cloves. Bring to a boil and cook over low heat about 5 minutes, just until the carrots are crisp-tender. Be careful not to overcook.
Drain the carrots and place in a bowl. Toss with the dressing right away. Very finely chop a wedge of red onion (about ½ cup) and a small handful of fresh parsley; add to the carrots. Add ¼ cup halved and pitted Kalamata olives; mix. Let stand at room temperature for a few hours, or refrigerate overnight and bring to room temperature before serving. Add more lemon juice, salt and sugar to taste.